Please rate my bacon

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Baconbass

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Jul 13, 2022
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I have been listening to the advice given in my previous thread and I'm learning and adjusting my recipes. I've extended my cure time and I have a few cure variations on the go.

I'm still not happy with the quality of the meat I'm getting but I think I've found out why. The general public are allowed into the meat market at 8AM but the restaurants get in at 5AM and take all the good belly cuts for the Chinese braised belly dish. This is reason above all to get legal I guess.

Anyway, I have just finished curing at oven fake smoking this belly (basted with liquid smoke in a 93c oven until the meat reaches 66c).

There are parts of the fat that I'm not happy with. A little chewey even when fried well. Do I need to heat it a little higher? Longer?

Is this something a real smoker would eliminate? Or am I doomed until I get a better meat supply?

Once again thanks for all the good feedback.
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Sven Svensson

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Looks pretty good to me. A “real” smoker will be a game changer for you, though. I’ve had slabs that have been worse as I thought I picked a good one but, nope. Sometimes it’s very hard to tell. Your method looks sound.

If you’ve never baked bacon, give that a try. I bake mine on a cooling rack in a pan. I always get much better results over frying. 314930E8-287A-42B8-9E2D-7EAB7310812C.jpeg
 

thirdeye

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What is your curing technique and cure time?

I'm thinking the 93°C is a little high, the fat benefits from time and temperature, so maybe more time and less temperature? I've never cooked bacon in an oven so the lack of smoke color is misleading.... but heat is heat. A lot of storebought bacon is cooked in devices resembling ovens.

For my preference I think the 66°C is a little high. You technically have a ready-to-eat product. I like a couple of rounds of cold smoking, some of my bacon will never get above 20°C. As far as appearance, my bacon looks about like deli-sliced bacon.
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SmokinEdge

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Is that your finished product, or will you fry or cook more before eating?

I’ve never cooked bacon in the oven and not really sure why you would need to, but in my smokehouse the temperature never goes over about 75c and bacon IT really doesn’t have to be more than about 60c, but then I fry before I eat it.
 

Baconbass

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Jul 13, 2022
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This is pre frying. It friedls up pretty well. I'm using the oven method for faux smoking because I just can't figure out how to get away with indoor smoking. Working on it though.

In the meantime my wet cured, painstakingly injected with a 10ml medical syringe rolled belly bacon came out perfectly in terms of fry-ability and taste. Next step it adapting the flavours of my dry cure to this method to see it that's what I'm looking for.
 

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SmokinEdge

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This is pre frying. It friedls up pretty well. I'm using the oven method for faux smoking because I just can't figure out how to get away with indoor smoking. Working on it
The smoke flavor is coming from liquid smoke, so I see no benefit to the oven treatment. I would pull them out of cure and air dry then slice and bag. If your sugars are high then it can be beneficial to pre cook as you will have less burning in the fry pan, otherwise I would treat the bacon like cold smoked and just cook it in the fry pan and skip the oven.
 

tallbm

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I have been listening to the advice given in my previous thread and I'm learning and adjusting my recipes. I've extended my cure time and I have a few cure variations on the go.

I'm still not happy with the quality of the meat I'm getting but I think I've found out why. The general public are allowed into the meat market at 8AM but the restaurants get in at 5AM and take all the good belly cuts for the Chinese braised belly dish. This is reason above all to get legal I guess.

Anyway, I have just finished curing at oven fake smoking this belly (basted with liquid smoke in a 93c oven until the meat reaches 66c).

There are parts of the fat that I'm not happy with. A little chewey even when fried well. Do I need to heat it a little higher? Longer?

Is this something a real smoker would eliminate? Or am I doomed until I get a better meat supply?

Once again thanks for all the good feedback. View attachment 639076 View attachment 639077 View attachment 639078 View attachment 639079 View attachment 639080 View attachment 639081 View attachment 639082
The bacon doesnt look bad at all.

I think I see rind (skin) on your bacon and that may be what is so chewy. If you remove the rind (skin) and then do your process, I think that would eliminate the extra chewy later.
If there is no rind (skin) on your pork bellies than ignore what I just mentioned hahaha.

As for temps I also think that 93c/199.4F is a bit high.
If your oven can go down to 76c/170F then that would be much better. Many ovens cannot go lower than 170F and some may not even that low.

Internal temperature of the bacon is tricky.
In the US our pork is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 145F/62.8C degrees. This is because the pork is regulated and tested and no reports of parasites have been indicated in so many years that USDA pork is safe to eat at those temperatures.
In China I don't know if that is the case.

I personally smoke my bacon to 145F/62.8C degrees internal temperature of the meat. I do this because I enjoy eating it as I'm slicing it and once I vacuum seal it in bags I enjoy defrosting a bag and eating it without ever frying it. I end up eating 95% of my bacon this way hahaha.

Again, I am buying USDA pork bellies. China may be a different story and food safety is a priority so you don't get people sick.

In any case many people only cold smoke or partially heated smoke their bacon.
Those that partially heat smoke their bacon only take it to an internal temperature of like 128-135F/53-57C.
This is bacon is considered not cooked and must be fried or cooked before eating.

Without actually smoking your meat, I'm not sure you will get that really nice cold smoked color and texture. It may just look like raw cured pork belly, which is fine too if your customer base is ok with the look and with cooking it all the way. Now the issue is that it will NOT look so much like bacon and will look more like a completely raw piece of meat. You may have already trained your customers to expect what you are producing and changing that on them may not be an option because they simply won't understand the difference between what you have sold them in the past vs just a cured and non-oven cooked product.

Doing an oven cook to 128-135F/53-57C will give them a closer to look to what you are currently selling them but they MUST understand that the bacon needs to be cooked if they have not been cooking what you are giving them now.

OK, I gave a ton of information there to consider.
In short, I would figure out what your safe internal meat temperature is for Chinese pork bellies and then make some decisions from there.

You know what you are doing now is working. I think improving to ensure safety is the highest priority and then you can continue to figure out if you want to cook to lower internal temperatures or not. I would still reduce the oven temperature to 76c/170F if it will go that low and understand that the cooking will take longer BUT the texture of the meat and fat should come out better :)
 
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Baconbass

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Thank you so much for that. Luckily all my customers are only used to eating bacon if it's fried or baked after slicing. Basically I'm competing with supermarket pressure glued mystery bacon so people are used to cooking it. As for the pork supply here... While cold chain industry does exist in full form here, many of the markets are still pretty relaxed with temperature control and sealing. I wouldn't go for pork sushi here for at least another 15 years.

I'm going to try your temperature suggestions and the idea of just cure -> wash/desalinate -> paint on liquid smoke -> air dry -> slice and see where that takes me.

The round bacon in my last comment came out tasting and cooking up like a good quality store bought bacon but my needle was too small so I couldn't get any of the flavourings deep into the meat.

I'm still in the phase where every time I improve I end up with even more questions. Can't wait until I get a smoker and can really pick your brains.

Cheers
 

Steve H

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I'm beyond speechless with this approach. The method looks ok. But, I'm trying to get my head around the liquid smoke thing. Do you add it straight? Or dilute?
How heavy do you apply it?
 

Baconbass

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Jul 13, 2022
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It's quite simple. I use wrights and just paint it on to the cured slab before putting it in the oven to slow cook like a hot smoker would. It works really well. If you haven't had real smoked food for a while you might even believe it's actually been smoked. Wouldn't fool you in a side by side test though I use the same method with sous vide ribs and pulled pork. So far my cure contains a lot of flavors you'd usually find in bbq and I think that really helps bring the smoke flavor out.

I probably go through half a bottle every 6kgs or so.
 
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tallbm

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Thank you so much for that. Luckily all my customers are only used to eating bacon if it's fried or baked after slicing. Basically I'm competing with supermarket pressure glued mystery bacon so people are used to cooking it. As for the pork supply here... While cold chain industry does exist in full form here, many of the markets are still pretty relaxed with temperature control and sealing. I wouldn't go for pork sushi here for at least another 15 years.

I'm going to try your temperature suggestions and the idea of just cure -> wash/desalinate -> paint on liquid smoke -> air dry -> slice and see where that takes me.

The round bacon in my last comment came out tasting and cooking up like a good quality store bought bacon but my needle was too small so I couldn't get any of the flavourings deep into the meat.

I'm still in the phase where every time I improve I end up with even more questions. Can't wait until I get a smoker and can really pick your brains.

Cheers

That syringe you are using right now can only do so much. Something like these would be much better:

1659289117326.png


I took this screenshot from alibaba . com searching for "meat marinade flavor injector syringe".

I understand that your internet access in China is different from what we get in the USA but all these products on alibaba are made in China so you SHOULD be able to find the same thing online and get a much better and easier to clean injector/syringe.

Every little improvement helps :D
 
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Baconbass

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Jul 13, 2022
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That syringe you are using right now can only do so much. Something like these would be much better:

View attachment 639297

I took this screenshot from alibaba . com searching for "meat marinade flavor injector syringe".

I understand that your internet access in China is different from what we get in the USA but all these products on alibaba are made in China so you SHOULD be able to find the same thing online and get a much better and easier to clean injector/syringe.

Every little improvement helps :D
Yep. Literally the first thing I did after spending so much time using the 10ml syringe last time.
We have Alibaba and a few other versions of it here but as it's in Chinese I always have to try to figure out what something is called before I can find the exact thing I want.

I asked about the meat syringe at the meat market but all I got was worried looks and denial. Turns out some less scrupulous sellers here use them to pump up the weight of the meat they sell. Luckily I haven't had any water balloon pork yet so sometimes I wonder if it's not an urban legend.
 

tallbm

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Yep. Literally the first thing I did after spending so much time using the 10ml syringe last time.
We have Alibaba and a few other versions of it here but as it's in Chinese I always have to try to figure out what something is called before I can find the exact thing I want.

I asked about the meat syringe at the meat market but all I got was worried looks and denial. Turns out some less scrupulous sellers here use them to pump up the weight of the meat they sell. Luckily I haven't had any water balloon pork yet so sometimes I wonder if it's not an urban legend.

I use the meat injector syringes that come with injectable marinates I can buy off the shelf here at the grocery stores. If they have something like that in China then maybe you can do the same:
1659322236960.png

The metal needle to the injector is stored in the plastic tube and will come out when you pull the orange plunger out. If something like this product exists at the stores then u are set :)
 

thirdeye

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Yep. Literally the first thing I did after spending so much time using the 10ml syringe last time.
We have Alibaba and a few other versions of it here but as it's in Chinese I always have to try to figure out what something is called before I can find the exact thing I want.

I use the meat injector syringes that come with injectable marinates I can buy off the shelf here at the grocery stores.
If you have a farm and ranch store, they sell a variety of syringes for livestock.
 
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Baconbass

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Jul 13, 2022
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Hmmmm. Let me check how much international overnight shipping is. Seriously though paprika in the cure is my new favourite thing
 
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